#19 “Two Tramps in Mud Time” (Robert Frost)

“Two Tramps in Mud Time” is one of the great American poems about work. Robert Frost here calls into question how we define work. He considers who should get to, or have to, do various kinds of work.

I am often struck by how much of “work” in human societies is really just a social agreement among people to look busy. Capitalism involves a rhetoric of lean, mean, ever-more-efficient production. But corporate employees spend an enormous amount of time in pointless meetings. (Academic employees spend even more time in them.) Retail employees bustle about moving things from one place to another, solicitous of customers to the point of aggravation.

Even more interesting is the “work” done not for the market but for the psychological and social well-being of the worker. In the 18th and 19th centuries, upper-middle-class (sometimes even upper-class) ladies would constantly “work” at embroidery or other sewing projects. This needlework had some economic benefit, but it was inefficient; it was done really out of a sense that idleness was not good for individuals or their communities. Today in American suburbs, people get out of work on the weekends and … go back to work: on their homes, their cars, their boats, their craft projects. Is such work play? Is play perhaps as important as work?

“My object in living is to unite / My avocation and my vocation,” says Frost’s speaker. Being a poet and a self-sufficient farmer (at least in this dramatic situation), he has the rare opportunity to combine the two. Or perhaps his assertions themselves are “play.” Does he really need to split the wood himself? It’s as if someone out for a jog met someone else running for their life. How do you defend playing at something so serious?

As so often in Frost’s poetry, the absolute plainness and matter-of-fact quality of the language is its great beauty. The phrasing of the poem is so perfect and so confident that I suspect a metaphor in the great lines about splitting logs:

And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.

When a great poet is on his game, even in play, the lines fall “splinterless” onto the page.

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32 responses to “#19 “Two Tramps in Mud Time” (Robert Frost)

  1. I understand the feeling of having to do “work.” People need to feel useful. I know that if I am not doing something productive then I begin to feel guilty. I think that has to do a lot with my personal background. In my family we were taught to work so that when we went out into the world we could provide for ourselves. I think a lot of people have had a similar upbringing. In order to get through the monotony of work people develop hobbies. What you may consider to be “work” could be someone else’s hobbie. I love to read but someone else could consider that to be work. The same is true in the poem. The speaker finds the work to be pleasurable yet the “tramps” probably wouldn’t agree with him. I certainly would consider chopping wood work . Everyone is entitled to their opinion and can spend their leisure time as they please, even if they choose to use it to work.

  2. In the poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” the speaker is suddenly confronted with an ethics question. He has to decide whether he should give up splitting wood for enjoyment to two lumberjacks in need of work. Robert Frost’s poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” reminds me of Linda Pastan’s poem, “Ethics,” because the burden of responsibility is placed upon the speaker to make a morally correct decision regardless of their own personal desires. In Pastan’s poem, the speaker was posed with the question of choosing a Rembrandt painting over the life of an elderly woman with few years left. In Frost’s poem, the speaker is confronted with choosing his own personal want over the need of another human being. It is a tough decision, and I feel it is an individual judgment call based on the scenario. Personally, I would have chosen to let the lumberjacks earn their money simply because the need was a matter of survival. However, the speaker in Frost’s poem chose the attitude of “Ulysses” in the fact that he decided to do what he loves regardless of how it affected others. I don’t condemn him at all for his decision because I do agree with his philosophy that a person’s work should be their play. When a person’s work is their play, then they can master their skill, trade, or profession. It reminds me of students who are taking this course for need and those who are taking this course for enjoyment. The commitment level will be totally different.

  3. I agree that the speaker is confronted by a question of ethics while these two strangers come across his path. I think the speaker can be seen as being selfish if he continues to want to cut his own wood instead of paying someone who needs the money to do it. The speaker merely does it for his enjoyment, or does he? I believe he does it for more than that. Accomplishing a task on your own is very meaningful and necessary. Even though a person’s work is enjoyable, and maybe even considered play, it does not make it any less important to the person. I think the speaker should continue to cut his own wood if that is what he enjoys. I know there are plenty of day to day activities we could pay others to do, but some of us choose not to because we can do them ourselves. On the other hand, some us choose to do so because we don’t have the time or necessary knowledge to accomplish some tasks. In this poem I think the question of whether the speaker should give up his cutting of the wood is much harder to answer because it is a pretty extreme case, and the two men are strangers. In our daily lives we don’t think about paying someone to complete a task because we want to help them out, we do it so that they can help us out. However, if we know the person and know that he/she does need the money I believe most of us will help them out and give them a job so they can make some money. But like I said, in the poem the two men were strangers so the willingness to help them was less.

    Since I feel the speaker does need to cut his own wood I think that even busy work, to a certain extent is just as important as the work we get paid for and/or do not enjoy. They are tasks we do to get things done, that lead to more work, and that keep us involved and busy. I feel that enjoying our work is a perk in itself and should be appreciated but shouldn’t make the work any less important.

  4. I feel like so many people can identify with this poem because there are so many people that fel like they “have to” and “need to” work for the sole purpose of getting the money; while there are others who don’t feel that way towards their job–rather they do it because of the joy and pleasure they get out of it. The speaker in this poem is one of such people who loves his job and doesn’t see it as something that has to be done. He was often thought of by his fellow workers as a fool because of how he felt towards work; but to me, I don’t think he was a fool. The speaker also beautifully describes the environment that he was surrounded by which is another reason why I think he loved his job. I also got the feeling that the speaker didn’t really associate or like it when poeple came for the job for a different reason–the money. It was almost as if he could sense the reason why some of the men came to work; he shows this by what he said in the first stanza, “I knew pretty well what he had in mind: he wanted to take my job for pay.” From that statement, it feels like the speaker was defensive over his job and didn’t approve of any other motives behind getting the job. One thing that the speaker says in the last stanza that I completely agree with is, “Only where love and need are on…is the deed ever really done.” I agree with this statemnet because if one gets a job for the sake of the love he/she has for it, as well as for the money they also get out of it, it only balances their feelings toward their job; they do a better job at it, and they will be more satisfied.

  5. I really enjoyed this poem. I enjoy my work, so poems about work are always interesting to me. I can identify with the speaker in the poem, because, like him, I work because I want to work. Yes, I do need the money, but that’s not why I do what I do. If I was really just after a paycheck, there are plenty of other things that I could be doing for a lot more money. But why would I choose to do that if I didn’t enjoy it. Whenever I hear my coworkers talk about working only for a paycheck or hear a job applicant say they just need a paycheck, I often have the urge to tell them to go work somewhere else (sometimes I’ll actually tell them). Why would they choose to work somewhere and do something that they didn’t want to do? I just don’t get. How will they ever feel any sense of accomplishment or satisfaction in their professional lives? I’m not perfect, though. I do have moments where I really don’t like my job…like when I spend hours in meetings that serve absolutely no purpose. Whenever I’m in that situation, I think of how many dollars in annual salaries is tied up in that particular conference room. Depending on my mood, I’ll either start laughing or get very frustrated.
    I also feel that the poem relates to our current economic times. If there are job shortages, one who works only because they want to, and not because they need the money could be faced with a difficult question: “Should I keep my job that I have only because I WANT it, or should I quit, and give it to someone that NEEDS it?”

  6. I think, like many other posts so far, that this poem brings up some interesting questions about the nature of why we work. I enjoy the work that I do (not that I always love the red-tape of it all), and we are in a forced shortage at the moment. The state refuses to allow us to hire new people, and those of us fortunate enough to have the job have to make the decision whether or not this is really where we want to be. Because we know that the state will not allow us to hire new employees right now, those of us who enjoy the job are greatly outnumbered by those who simply hold onto it for fear of not being able to get something else. It makes me question whether or not I really should enjoy my job, or if they know something that I don’t. They keep the job because they need it, but because I have other options, I keep the job because I enjoy it. I don’t do my job because I make tons of money or because I even get much credit for the work I actually do. I keep my job because at the end of most days I feel good about myself. There are a lot of other things I could be doing, but would I feel the same way about myself after all was said and done? I think that it can be seen as selfish to keep a job for yourself when someone out there needs it more than you do, but at the same time I think that we need to do something that we enjoy. If we don’t truly enjoy the work at the end of the day, then was it really worth the paycheck?

  7. I really enjoyed answering the question on the prompt about whether the man was wasting his time and if it was wrong for him to throw it in the face of his peers. I didn’t feel as though the speaker was necessarily throwing it in the face of others that he was essentially working for fun, it just seemed as though the other lumberjacks were the ones who made a big deal out of it. I do not think the man was wasting his time doing something he loved. Perhaps he did not have to work because he was able to live comfortably without it, so why not do something you love? Also, practice makes perfect, so perhaps the man wished to perfect his favorite past time, just as children perfect riding a bike.
    I also enjoyed giving an example of somewhere this pertains in my life. My boyfriend has a roommate that does not work, ever and receives a $1600 paycheck a week. His grandfather is the owner of Green’s Produce, and pays him just as though he works like everyone else. The guy is in his mid twenties, doesn’t go to school, just sleeps all day and is at the bar all night… And he really likes for everyone to know that he doesn’t do anything to get his money, and doesn’t plan on doing anything, just inheriting it all. In this case, the person does throw the fun in everyone else’s faces, and it is ridiculously annoying.

  8. I found this poem to be very interesting. Although this is a topic that I have never thought about, it does raise an interesting question about work. Is work work if you arent getting paid for it? Does it take away from those that do the same type of job for pay? I can see both sides and I guess if someone was out doing my job for free, I would find it offensive and invasive. On the other hand if I were the one doing the work simply because I enjoyed what it is that is being done, I wouldnt see it the same way.
    The thing that cause me the greatest distress about the poem is the relevance of the two tramps. I understand that they are the ones questioning the “free worker”, but why them? Where did they come from and who sent them to watch the others?

  9. I am definitely one of those people who do not enjoy their job! It would be absolutely brilliant if I could do something I loved to do and get paid for it. Maybe this is why I am in college 🙂 Now to refer to the poem, I certainly do not think that the speaker of the poem is at all foolish. He is chopping wood, which to many is a hard task, yet he enjoys it since it gives him a way to relieve himself of whatever stress he might be having. Neither do I think that the speaker is ‘throwing’ it in the tramps’ face that he gets to enjoy the task that they have to do for money in order to survive. He is merely explaining how it is good to be able to find satisfaction and relaxation in some type of work, whatever a person might be doing. Furthermore, as the speaker was talking about letting his soul loose as he spent time on the ‘unimportant’ wood, I was getting a hunch that he was pointing out his sensibility to others. From those two lines of the poem I grasped the idea that he cared a lot for people and would rather take out his negative feelings on an unimportant object (wood in this case) than on a person. Work is a part of every person’s life, and it is important to make it as enjoyable as one can. Why not “unite my avocation and my vocation”?

  10. When I wrote the essay in class I didn’t to much agree with his attitude towards the wood work. It was almost like he was mocking them . I gave the example of when I would hip-hop and mime dance and someone would interrupt my work and just try to take over. Yes they may like to dance but this is my job my income. Its your hobby but my way of life. Let’s not be rude, would be my attitude towards them. And they would act nonchalant and sometimes continue. But I would personally not mess over someone’s work. If it was my hobby I would still respect it. There’s nothing like getting paid for doing something you like. I think that’s every one’s dream. I don’t think the author justified his attitude in the poem. I mean he could let someone else do that work apparently those men needed that job. However he does have a right to chop wood especially if he enjoys it but his attitude could be a lot better

  11. Like I said in my writing this is my favorite poem by Robert Frost by far and one of my favorite on the countdown. In this poem Frost tackles the problem of doing the work yourself for the enjoyment you get from it, but also the selfishness of it because there are men out there who need that work to make a living. So if the speaker is really getting enjoyment out of it, is it really defined as work? Like you say in the post, it really does bring to question how we define work. Is it any type of labor we do even if we enjoy it, or is it just the labor we do for survival? I was taught as kid do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. But with my job I have done things I didn’t want to do because they were necessary to do, not just because I liked to do them. Work is all a matter of perception, and it seemed like the speaker should have just kept chopping the wood himself, not to say it was the wrong decision to give it to the men to do. If you enjoy what you are doing, there really is no reason for you to stop, there will always be people out there who don’t want to do it, and those men will find them.

  12. I like this poem because it makes us all think to ourselves why do we work and do we enjoy the work that we do. I like working where I do not have to dread going to work. I think many people take their jobs for granted but I do not. I like my job and love meeting new people. I do not work just for a paycheck but I also work to make something out of myself and not just go to class and do nothing the rest of the day. I believe that working helps us learn responsibility and get us through many obsticales. I do not think that the man was a fool or selfish, he just simply loved his job and loved working. Work is something that we choose to do or not to do. Some people take advantage of the opportunity more than others.

  13. andreamcginley

    Work is such a negative word. In Webster’s Dictionary it defines work as “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.” With synonyms such as labor and toil it brings to mind that it is an unfavorable task. Whereas the speaker views wood chopping as ‘play’. When I think of someone playing I view a person who is happy and pleased with their being. The speaker truly enjoys his tasks and because he does he feels guilty for taking away from those who need. The way the speaker contemplates this, deals with his view on ethics. He gets a sense that he is doing the two tramps some harm by taking away their means of living, however he can validate his actions by saying that “Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done”. By using this he can say with certain that we must find things that we love and enjoy doing so that not only can we as people be happy but also can we help others from doing things that they have to work at. When I worked at the Country Club I hated being there as so if it was close to the end of a shift and I skipped some closing tasks I really did not care. The job was finished, but I was also gone for the day it did not matter to me. It might have been unethical, but it was something I just did not think about. The poem “Ethics” kind of meshes with this on idea of there is really no one correct answer. Either way one party will probably be injured. In “Ethics” it was either the painting or the old lady, in this poem it is either the ‘professional’ wood choppers or the speaker who does it for leisure. Either way there is no way to get around who has the right to do so.

  14. In the poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” by Robert Frost, the speaker is talking about work. I know a lot of people can relate to this poem. Not that many people actually enjoy what they do to earn money. There are some though that work because they like it, not because they are getting paid to do so. Although it is definately a plus to get paid to do something you like. Others just don’t understand why somebody would do something, especially manual labor, and not get paid for it.

  15. decarlocoleman

    I enjoyed reading this poem because it allowed me to view work and one’s duties from two different perspectives. I can see how someone may be offended to see another person doing the work they get paid to do for free. I also understand how someone can enjoy doing work and not being paid in order to do it. Its near impossible to take sides on this matter because the author speaks a solid case for both parties involved in this poem. I must say I personally would feel useless or non important myself if I saw someone doing my job I get paid to do for free. It’s a psychological disturbance for most people because we all want to perform at a high level to gain value at our jobs. On the other hand there are some people who don’t care about recognition, they are only interested in self fulfillment and happiness.

  16. kursteilnehmur

    It is interesting to see how people perceive the two men that needed the work that the man was doing. In my essay last class period I wrote from the perspective that the two men were tramps, but upon thinking about the poem afterwards I could see that the two men may have been lumberjacks. If the two men were tramps they may have some claim over the situation because of their need. If they are seen as professional lumberjacks then their claim may be not as great. They may have had enough means to support themselves if they were professionals. Some people get a lot of pride out of their work. When one sees another doing the same even though they do not have to it can cause a lot of different reactions. Some may recognize a positive bond between them through their workmanship, others may have adverse reactions. Some may raise the response that his attitude needs improvement, but I cannot help wonder if his reaction is the explicit result from high blood pressure and hard work. When you get into a job that involves manual labor it is easy to lose yourself in the moment. He heard the jeer from the man who was envious of his work and it could have sparked something in his mind that caused his rant. The idea that chopping wood is considered “work” to some may be the root of this problem. The speaker of the poem views the chopping of wood simply an enjoyable task that happens to fall into the category of work for others. The passers-by see it as him taking away from their livelihood.

  17. I believe when reading this poem you are asked to look into something specific about the way he feels about his work and how it is his livelihood. I feel as though just looking at it from that point of view you could be missing the big picture about what he may be saying. I think that the big picture is looking more into human nature and how they react to work. You see the loggers trying to get him to pay them to do what he is enjoying. It makes me think of my job. I am an office manager slash accountant and have been for many years. I talk people into hiring me for this position even though I do not like my work. I go to school to become something I do like. But if someone walked by and wanted to do my gardening for pay I would have to refuse because that is work that I enjoy and dont want to pay someone else for. I think the bigger picture might be the suffering we put ourselves through with the jobs we hold instead of doing the thing we love.

  18. “Two Tramps in Mud Time” by Robert Frost is a great poem about work. When I first read this poem it really made me think about our love hate relationship with work. It also really made me think about why we work, and how so many people hate working. Even though most people do not like what they do, there are many that do love their work. I think it is very important to love what you do, because if you don’t then you find ways to just get through the day. Not everyone is blessed with the opportunity to love doing their work. How perfect would society be if we could all be rock stars, marine biologists, or athletes? It would not be fun to be working in one of many careers, such as a trash man or janitor. But people have to work to survive, that’s what separates us from animals. There is no economy, but nature’s own unexplainable equation itself. In the world we live in, what makes the successful separate from the lazy is efficiency. Many people just go to work, do the minimum required just to get through the day. And as long as people are not properly channeled into what they love, capitalism will always be imperfect. I thought Robert Frost did a great job of explaining the thought process that one would go through to describe the work they do. If a human mind doesn’t have something to do, something to accomplish and to have put your mind towards, then there is no purpose for even living. Our purpose is to put our time to good use and gain knowledge, apply that knowledge better ourselves and better the world we live in.

  19. The poem “The Tramps in Mud Time” by Robert Frost created a clear picture in my mind of a place where money scarce and work is hard to come by. It seems like in this poem is talking about a man who was lucky enough to find a job for little bit of money. Even for that small wage, he is showing hints of being annoyed by the other men because he knows that any of those other men would love to take his job, or better yet the wage for doing that job. Starting on the 17th line, one may understand the lesson as to say, procrastinating is very unwise. Finishing your work early may be the difference between chopping wood in the snow and high winds and curling up next to a fire without having to worry about firewood.

  20. I looked up the word “tramp” in the dictionary and it told me that in the context used it is a vagabond. I think this adds a bit to the poem because in today’s society most people of even heavy laborious work show up to a job looking decent. This tends to tilt the sympathy scales towards the traveler due to his unfortunate circumstance. It is admirable that he is looking for work and not for charity. I would have seen someone in today’s society of that make up and assumed that they where a bum or a beggar. It seems to me that the man could offer him some sort of position or at least temporary work assignment. I find it interesting that the choice is black and white. Either he allow the man to work his job or not. The question I keep running through my mind is that: Is one man’s need greater than another man’s passion? I think that in this time if a man was at his wits end and has searched for work leading him to this town where only one occupation suited him the man would indeed allow him to work. I can only speculate because we know nothing about the man looking for work only that he is a muddy vagabond with a friend.

  21. I liked this poem because I could somewhat relate to it. I have a pretty simple job as I can’t get a “real” or full-time job being an international student. But the job I do have is a job that I need and love. I also get people that need the money and pass on remarks like I have an easy job and they wished they had it, but in this poem I was a little confused as to which character I was, the watcher or the worker, because I feel like both at different times. I feel like there is purpose behind every job or work or hobby whether its play or work, someone needs to do it in some way or another if not for money then for personal fulfillment. Not all jobs need to be completed for money. I feel like both sides Frost is referring to a speaking for are right where they stand, I guess it just depends where you stand, do you not have a job and need one? Or do you have a job that you don’t need for money? Or do you have a job that you need the money for and still enjoy doing?

  22. When first reading this poem, I had a little bit of a hard time deciding whether or not the speaker of the poem believed his reasoning to be greater or lesser than that of the “lumberjacks.” He agrees at one point that their need is greater than his, but goes on to contradict himself and say that he too has his reasons. In the end, though, I came to the conclusion that it really is no matter of whose need is of more importance, but of the fact that the person in this poem was taunted for going about his own business. When looking at it this way, you can really start to understand Robert Frost behind his writing. When combined with “Directive,” from earlier in the countdown, I get the feeling that Frost was disappointed in certain aspects of his time, including the loss of simplicity in everyday life. While “Directive” was a more broad approach to his thoughts on the subject, “Two Tramps in Mud Time” addresses a more specific circumstance where he just want to be left to live his life without interruption.

  23. Many people do not enjoy their jobs or whatever task is at hand for them. Nothing can be more frustrating then seeing someone complete the same task and actually appear to be enjoying themselves. I believe that the speakers main objective was not to upset the workers. The speaker was trying to get them to understand that work does not always have to equate to being miserable. More efficient workers are often times more successful because they may not necessarily be enjoying what they are doing however they may choose to take more of a positive perspective on the situation which in turn makes them focus more or their task and less on what else they could be doing.

  24. I enjoyed the this poem, to know that he took pride in his work, even though he did not think of it as work or get paid for it, but he found is fun and a great pass time. More people should think of that when they go for a job instead of only doing if for the money or getting into a career for the money but really enjoy what they do and like it. Then maybe people would enjoy life more and family life would be better. People need to take time and enjoy the little thing in life.

  25. By far this has been my favorite poem on the countdown. It really puts something we all do everyday into a deeper perspective. What is work? In a way I feel that Robert Frost is asking the reader this. Do people really work nowadays? I know many do but I feel that many more don’t know what work actually is. When I was younger and worked in roofing and construction I can honestly say I worked. I put hard work in and I earned barely anything in return. Today both my wife and I work for different Unions and its disgusting how little “work” is actually done. Yet the people who are supposedly working are earning more than ones that are producing. Is it fair? No. Is it so rampant that it is not worth trying to do anything about it? It seems that way. Before this job I was in the Military for 6 years and one would be amazed about how much waste there is, especially in the time department. From the day I was born I was taught to work hard and you will achieve success, it seems like that work hard part has been lost by a lot of people but yet success is still achieved. What message does this send? You don’t have to work hard for success, it will be given to you, just wait your turn. This message should scare anyone.

  26. Isn’t it funny how we can take a task and turn it into pleasure? In the poem “Two Tramps in Mud Time” reminds me of an old saying “one mans trash is another mans treasure” in this case one mans pleasure is another mans labor. When the men appeared and one let the other go on his way he knew there was just enough work for one, not knowing this is more than a just a job to the one that enjoys the task. The man that is cutting the wood or splitting has turned a task into time for him to connect with nature or just to mediate on life. He knows exactly when the seasons has changed or about to, and how to split the wood with perfection. That is someone who has taken this to another level and to see someone else wanting to use it for what he has worked hard at. It makes me think about my job compared to my colleagues, I do go to work mainly for the pay but I see her putting so much more in to it far more than I do. She has turned this into a lifestyle compared to my just wanting to earn a pay check like the stranger out of the mud. I look at this as no matter what the task or job is it is what you make it out to be. We can make it a way to connect with life or a way to make a living.

  27. spontaneous12

    Mr. Morris, I will use your example of how “It’s as if someone out for a jog met someone else running for their life. How do you defend playing at something so serious?” The seriousness that your quote suggests is that the majority of Americans are living just to make ends meet instead of maintaining financial success. Some jobs won’t allow you to be as successful without a college degree within your first few years. So many people quit. I guess it’s hard to realize how serious it is to keep a job when you are that young of age. Young adults have to learn how to face the truth in having an aggravating mental straining, back breaking occupation without a college education. Society is built around people who have been taught to work followed by a generation who would rather not work and get paid for it. Then you made the argument, “does he need to split wood himself.” Workers have been raised within family corporations and have created their own corporations to the point that they don’t have to touch labor. It is looked at from a business standpoint. For example, the factory laborers are not being seen on a regular basis by the people that own the business. The people that know these workers are supervisors, other bosses and the workers themselves who see individually what a workday is like personally. It is not all play on these types of jobs. Most workers don’t look down as if they’re on a mountain like Moses to see what all of the workers are accomplishing. It is merely sweat and mud with very little time to play.

  28. I like the poem because a lot of us can relate to the speaker. I got the feeling that he does his wood chopping as a hobby and a necessity. When we find something we’re good at and something we enjoy doing, we have fun doing it. The speaker in the poem is doing just that. A lot of our hobbies can be work for other people. Do we feel bad for taking work from others? A lot of people don’t, I know I don’t when I work on my car almost every other weekend and once a month before and after a big event. Not only do I enjoy trying to perfect my car’s performance, I save myself a lot of money and troubles compared to letting someone else “qualified” for the job do it. A lot of these people hate their jobs and just go through the motions ignoring small details that could lead to future problems. I don’t think the two tramps in the poem would have been as accurate as the speaker or as passionate about wood chopping. The speaker like many of us enjoys this hard work or hobby because he likes it.

  29. I think that Robert Frost’s poem reminds us that sometimes we might take our jobs for granted. We sometimes may not realize how much we might actually like our jobs until someone comes along and maybe might try to slowly “move into our territory.” I think it is important to like what you do. I think that if you like your job it can be fun even though it may be hard work. I work with high school at-risk students and they are ALWAYS in trouble. I deal with the ones with really bad issues (ALL types) and my days very tedious and frustrating. At the same time though, it is very rewarding, especially when you are able to reach out to at least one student. I know that at one time a co-worker had come in and was wanting to see if I needed help with some students and I actually felt like someone was invading my territory. I think that in the poem the lumberjack was doing what he loved to do yet enjoying his day on the day these two guys showed up. He realized how much he really liked his job at that moment. I do what I do because I like it. If not, I would not be there. I think the lumberjack felt the same way.

  30. The ethical question raised in this poem is whether or not one should fulfill their own less essential needs before allowing others complete their more vital needs. Some people may argue that it is not a need for the speaker to chop his own wood, because it is not what he does to make money. However, I think the speaker believes it is a necessity to enjoy life, to find something that makes you happy. It’s more like an emotional need versus a financial need. Some people may say that the “strangers” have a right to expect compassion for their need to earn a living. However, I agree with the speaker in that he also has the right to chop his own wood if that’s what he wants to do.
    When one of the strangers yelled out, “Hit them hard”, it must have been to make the speaker feel bad for chopping the wood himself instead of letting them do it. And, it worked because you can tell in the poem that the speaker really contemplated over the whole ordeal. It doesn’t even matter whether or not he stopped chopping the wood so the strangers would have a job. It didn’t matter because after those words were said to him he eventually felt guilty and probably lost most of the joy he usually got from chopping wood. At first their words deepened his love for it (“The time when most I loved my task / These two must make me love it more / By coming with what they came to ask “); but then later their logic filled his head with guilt. (“My right might be love but theirs was need. And where the two exist in twain thiers was the better right – agreed”).

  31. Feeling that to work is a variable to include in the formula for happiness is a funny concept, I have always taken work to be a cause for the deprivation of a “fun time”. I feel that in order to be filled with a sense of use, which i think as people in a society, all crave to have a defined position, it is necessary. As Socrates stated a idle mind is a waste of a mind. The crux of the poem is that the speaker resolves that for himself to have happiness he/she must come to a point where work and all else is one. He feels that this is the path to happiness so when he becomes petered by the passer by who hopes to to his job for him the speaker is totally justified. For although the passerby sees a selfish, man who is mule like in not yielding the work to him the speaker is merely searching for inner peace which in reality is the most difficult task of all.

  32. This poem makes us who like our jobs feel better about liking them. Many people automatically hate their job because is something that you are “supposed” to hate. After reading the poem I have the feeling that the man does not actually work as a wood cutter but likes to do it maybe as a hobby, and the other guys who pass by actually work as wood cutters so they do not like doing it like the other men does. Many times we do not like something because we are obligated to do it. For example, if you work as a wood cutter and you have to work every day of the week, you get so tired of it that you end up hating it just because you “have” to do it. On the other hand people who cut wood and see it as a hobby will find it more enjoyable because they choose when to do it.

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